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Andrea Mitchell Reports

News/Business. Interviews with political figures with host Andrea Mitchell. New.

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Virginia 12, Us 8, Newport 7, Angie 6, Andrea Mitchell 5, Arkansas 5, Washington 5, Graham 4, Rome 4, Marco Rubio 4, America 4, Dennis Rodman 3, Boehner 3, Mccain 3, Lindsey Graham 3, Jonathan Martin 3, Syria 3, North Korea 3, London 3, Clinton 2,
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  MSNBC    Andrea Mitchell Reports    News/Business. Interviews with political  
   figures with host Andrea Mitchell. New.  

    February 26, 2013
    10:00 - 10:59am PST  

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rr. >> right now boehner unplugged. there's still no help for a sequester deal. >> we have moved in the house twice. we should not have to move a third bill before the senate gets off their ass and begins to do something. >> the republican leadership says let the senate begin. i remind them that the constitution says the appropriations in revenue bills must begin in the house. >> and now here we are. with the praez presenting the country with two options. >> what's the country think of this blame game? coming up an exclusive first look at our new nbc news-wall street journal poll as president obama takes his p.r. campaign on the sequester on the road to a
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naval shipyard in virginia. >> for example, i'll be in the tide water region of virginia where workers will sit idle when they should be repairing ships and a carrier sits idle when it should be deploying to the persian gulf. >> we'll have live coverage of the president's speech minutes from now. plus, the last hurdle for hagel. the senate moves towards a final confirmation vote. secretary of state john kerry in germany. the second stop on his first official foreign trip. on the jaepd of constitutesing the civil war in syria with his counterpart. first, a visit to berlin. bran denberg gate in a town hall with students where kerry defended the freedom of speech. >> in america you have a right to be stupid if you want to be, and you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be. we tolerate it. we somehow make it through that.
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now, i think that's a virtue. i think that's something worth fighting for. >> we celebrate the stupidity. globe trotting. former nba bad boy dennis rodman brings the harlem globetrotters to north korea on a goodwill mission. flamboyant style and all. >> for the first time i think most these guys' first time here, so i hope everything will be okay, and hope the kids will have a good time before the game. >> in north korea the washington generals always win. jaen way, good day. i'm chuck todd live in washington in today for andrea. we're moments away from president obama's live roshgs in newport news, virginia. his latest pressure to pressure republicans just days before billions of dollars in automatic cuts become a reality. joining me now for the daily fix, chris, msnbc contributor and managing editor of post politics.com, kelly o'donnell, and politico senior reporter jonathan martin. all right, trio.
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my friend here, we want to start off with a taste of the nbc-wall street journal poll, and we asked folks if the following groups of people -- are they embracing an agenda that unifies the country or one that is trying to more people say he has a unifying approach. look at this, chris. probably not surprising. only 22% of our respondents view the republican party as pursuing an approach that is unifying 64%, believe the republican party is pursuing a partisan approach. this, of course, is what the president is counting on in trying to go public with this fight on sequester.
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>> they're in worst shape than on election day. because there's an after effect where now they're out of power and now the house republican look divided and no one knows who the leader of the party is. i think you're going to see -- once you guys release the whole poelsz, there's going to be a lot of numbers that make clear the republican party has a brand problem with the general public and i think they have an issue internally within the party, which is there's lots of republicans who think the party is either too extreme or, you know, doesn't adhere to the idealogical lines enough. there's a real split within the party too. >> kelly, watching john boehner this morning express frustration that the senate hasn't acted on sequester and saying all the house has already acted twice. clarify things a little bit. there is no active bill passed by the house in this congress. explain. >> well, they did pass it twice, but it was the last congress.
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an alternative to the sequester cuts, making cuts different, and now it would be in the house's backyard to do it again, but boehner says he doesn't want to do that. >> part of the problem is the number has shifted some. you have more democrats in the house now. you also have issues about should the sequester go forward that might bring republicans into a harder team voting for this. there's a theory that the house couldn't put something forward because it would have a tough time passing. there's an issue of just trying to leverage attention on to the senate and on to the white house, which is a big part of what boehner has been trying to do. there's utter frustration that spilled over today. >> there is this focus that republicans have said. it's all about 2014. jonathan martin, you know, when you look at these numbers here in this first taste here, but i can give you a tease.
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you see a lot of this. it's a mixed bag for the president, but when you compare them to where the republicans are, he looks like the great unifier. the president's numbers have come down some, but he benefits from an op sfwligs that's far more unpopular than he is. look, the president, his advisors note they have republicans in a bind here. there is a huge -- a huge element of the republican party going back to the he wanted of the george w. bush administration, has been consumed with the spike in federal spending. those folks, those real fiscal conservatives, see the sequester as a great opportunity to cut intending. it may abe meat clever, but it's a cut, nonetheless. they don't have any problem with this going into effect. if you were to give them a lot of -- and then you have the
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mccain and lindsey graham military hawks in the party who desperately don't want to see this something g into effect because they think the impact on a military would be devastating. >> well, you bring them up. >> lindsey graham and john mccain are going to the white house. they're going to have a meeting with the president on immigration, but during the gaggle, the free-flowing with the pool, the back and forth between the white house press secretary and the traveling press corps, they did say sequester would likely come up in that conversation between mccain, graham, and the president. any chance that those three could strike a deal? >> i can't -- sorry. >> i will say very quickly, i don't see how even if they did how we would avert the sequester on friday, chuck. congress doesn't work like that. this seems to be at least the possible opening engagement of
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the talks of a deal. i mean, that's the amazing thing about sequester. >> we can't even schedule talks. >> negotiations have broken down. no, negotiations never began. having them break down would actually be a step in the right direction. >> swraent even had -- >> we have seen this movie before where what will happen in the final day or two as they come to some agreement not on any kind of a deal in terms of addressing the underlying issue, but merely a stop gap agreement to extend the march 1st deadline, april 1st and may 1st. that seems to be the scenario that we've seen before here, right? >> the small scenario, yeah. kelly, i was going to say you're on capitol hill. what is the end game here? one of the smart senate leadership aides that have been through this a million times, how do they think this ends? >> well, everyone expects in both parties that it will go into effect and then there's sort of a how much is the sky falling sort of a gauge that will go on? how will people peel it?
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there will be a certain rolling aspect to some of the cuts, and then how can they try to continue the conversation with that next bump in the road, march 27th, for the overall budget for the government. that's really where people have their sights. they're sort of looking past friday to that big deadline, and i think with mccain and graham going to the white house, we have to sort of acknowledge maybe the president is reaching out more with the phone calls and personal meetings after so many people in both parties were saying that he needed to be a bit more personally involved in sort of the private room diplomacy in the white house. >> as i was told that it was during the phone conversation that the president made sort of trying to fix that whole immigration leak, with his own plan, and it made mccain and rubio and graham mad. it was during those conversations somebody brought up the idea how about committee we come down to the white house. well, lindsey graham and mccain and the president thought that was a great idea. marco rubio is not coming, but he did put out this statement. let me receipted it to you. we're glad senators mccain and
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graham are meeting with the president today. there are big differences between the president's plan and the bipart sfwlan approach in the senate, so this sort of discussion is constructive. oh, there really are big differences between the president's plan? i know it's important to marco rubio to say that, but are there real -- >> of course, that's where he said it. >> everybody talked about the leak to usa today and marco rubio. he says the deal is off. in some way for marco rubio's politics -- for the 2016 politics he needs it to not look as though like he and the president are walking hand in hand on this immigration deal. he needs it to look as though is he fighting for the toughest possible path to citizenship because otherwise he is going to get labelled for supporting amnesty. we already know this plot line. it played out in the 2012 presidential campaigns when mitt romney took the defensible position of self-deportation. he did that because he was worried about the immigration issue and how people on the right feel about it. rubio needs this to be a fight,
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and he needs to be seen as a guy making peace, and as a guy who is holding out for what conservatives want. >> holding the president's feet to the fire. jonathan martin, chris christie, not invited to cpac. this is a guy who is the most popular republican governor maybe in the country by his own constituents. not invited. message is? >> the message is they don't like what he did after hurricane sandy among the ranks of some conservative elet's. i wouldn't put a lot of money on it, but it wouldn't surprise me if this keeps going on for a day or two. there may be an invitation in the mail under that gold dome up there. >> an extended version of the morning fix on amr. thank you very much. president obama is expected to speak any minute until virginia. you'll stay with us for live
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we're waiting comments from president obama in virginia where he will talk about the impact of the sequester on defense workers. stay with us for live coverage of that. right now the president is in the midst of getting a tour at the newport news shipping yard. he is touring a part of a facility called the supplemental module outfitting facility. >> the headlines on "andrea mitchell reports" at least 19 people were killed today after a hot air balloon filled with tourists exploded over egypt's ancient city of luxor. it was trying to land when witnesses say there was an explosion and then fire engulfing the carriage.
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the tour was in asia and europe. a blizzard hitting kansas. western oklahoma. a storm dropped more than a foot of snow tloogs three deaths being blamed on this massive storm. it makes its way across the country. >> the family of trayvon martin is holding a candle light vigil to mark the one-year anniversary of martin's death. the 17-year-old unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer george zimmerman in a gated community in sanford, florida. zimmerman claims he acted in self-defense, and has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder. >> well, as we await to hear from the president, we're now actually going to hear from a republican member of congress, arkansas congressman tim griffin, lieutenant colonel in the army reserves. he joins me now. congressman, let me ask you this. on the sequester, i have heard speaker boehner today saying it's time for the senate to act, but the fact of the matter is there is no house bill with this
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congress. shouldn't you guys be acting at least simultaneously? >> well, we've -- many, many, many times we've passed bills, and they've gone where many good things go to die, and that's the united states senate. i think -- >> nothing right now. >> well, we also haven't passed a bill to repeal obama care this year, but that doesn't mean we've changed my position. the bottom line is i think everybody knows where we stand on this, and we passed two bills last year. it's always interesting that if you look at what the passes out of the senate, it's almost nothing. yet, folks are always wanting us to lead harry reid. look, we've tried 60 ways to sundown and, you know, i don't know what they got going on over at the senate, but i wish they would get together with the president, pass what they think they can pass, and then we would be glad to take a look at it. we've certainly shown -- >> you know as well as i do they're not going to be able to pass anything with 60 votes. they may be able to pass some things with 50, 52, 53 votes.
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they won't be able to pass anything with 60 votes, and should that be the marker on something like this? is this such an important -- >> for sure. >> -- thing it should take 60? that 41 -- >> no. i'm saying what should be the marker is the senate ought to be able to pass something. look, for better or for worse, the president -- >> so senate republicans need to get involved in this? >> no, what i'm saying is they need to work it out over there. i'm not going to tell the senate how to do their business, but they -- where br they start looking for us to lead them we've passesed two bills. the president passes nothing. the president's party controls the senate. they need to get their act together, and, you know, when it comes -- i hear a lot from people on your network especially, about the need for people in had congress to compromise. well, i would just remind you that the sequester is compromised. the sequester came out of compromise. when you compromise with someone, you're going to get some of their bad ideas in the
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final deal. that's exactly what we got. this is the president's bad idea, and now we're living with it. >> let me ask you on sequester, would you -- is it bad enough that you would like to see it postponed completely or would you rather have sequester than nothing? >> well, if the alternative is to continue spending on the path that we're on, then that's not an option. here's what i would say. there's been a lot of talk about scaring people. if the president really wanted to scare people, instead of talking about the impact, he ought to describe what a debt depression, what a debt crisis in this country will look like if we keep kicking this can down the road. these cuts that we're looking at in the sequester will look like child's play compared to what's going to come if we do not deal with the fundamental fiscal
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problems facing this country. that's going to be this president's legacy, and long after i'm gone my 2-year-old and 5-year-old are going to have to deal with this nonsense. it's really shameful. >> let me ask you about the little tease of our nbc-wall street journal poll that's out. one of the things that seems apparent is the republican party's branding issue, if you will. 64% -- that means there's majority. that's across the board. that's not a partisan split. 64% believe that republicans are emphasizing a partisan approach to governing rather than attempting to kwun few the country. that's not a good number. how much responsibility do house republicans have for that number? >> well, i point out to people all the time that there's only one individual that runs nationwide, and it's not members of congress and it's not senators, so i -- what i'm concerned about are the people in my second congressional district of arkansas. if i agreed with the country, i would have backed obama for president, and that sure wasn't going to happen.
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my state was overwhelmingly against president obama in this last presidential election, and so while it's interesting to look at the marshall polls and we certainly look to learn from them, those people don't vote for me. the people in nancy pelosi's district, they don't vote for me. so i'm accountable to the people in the second congressional district of arkansas, and, you know, the -- i'll say this. the air in air force one is rarefied, but for those of us who change planes in atlanta coming to d.c., we know that we got to quit spending so much money. >> let me ask you this. you talk about the second district of arkansas, are you going to run for re-election? >> no, i am very happy on the house weighs and means committee. it's an honor to serve there, and i'm going to stay there. >> all right. tim griffin, republican member of congress from arkansas. we're about to dip in to hear the president. thanks for coming on this
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morning -- or this afternoon. my apologies. thank you, sir. right now the president is in the midst of being introduced here. this is newport news, virginia, as we told you. it's a ship building facility in the newport news shipyard, and we're iffing to before the president comes on, he is being introduced now by the person that -- we're going to sneak in. we're going to -- no. never mind. we are going to dip in because we believe the president is coming in the room. >> now as ship builders we do hard stuff and we do it right. we understand that when we come to work it takes all the tools in our tool bag and a lot of collaboration to solve the complex challenges in our business. [ male announcer ] have you heard?
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>> i promise you barely missed
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anything. the president doing his hello wrshz. >> helping to keep america safe and are just the bedrock of this country's manufacturing base. thank you to all of you. >> i want to thank our outstanding secretary of the navy, ray mavis, who is here. there is right there. good-looking guy there. i want to thank your mayor mckinley price who served this nation bravely in the u.s. army. i want to thank two outstanding congressmen who care about this facility, care about virginia, and care about the country. congressman bobby scott is here.
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and congressman scott rigell is here as well. now, the reason i came here today in addition to seeing just some incredible stuff, it's true. every time i come to these places i don't know how you all do it. it is just amazing work. >> the american people know that this work along with hundreds of thousands of jobs are currently in jeopardy because of politics in washington. in a few days congress might allow a series of immediate,
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painful arbitrary budget cuts to take place -- the effects are even worse than the name. instead of cutting out the government spending we don't need wasteful programs that don't work, special interest tax loopholes and tax breaks. what the sequester does, it uses a meat clever approach to gut critical investments and things like education and national security and life-saving medical research. it will be real. the sequester will weaken america's economic recovery. it will weaken our military readiness. it will weaken the basic service
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that is american people depend on every single day. already -- already the uncertainty around these cuts is having an affect. companies are starting to prepare for layoff notices. families are preparing to cut back on expenses, and the longer these cuts are in place, the greater the damage. here the newport ship building, you guys have made an emorms investment because we've said in order to maintain the finest navy that the world has ever mn, we've got to make sure that there's an orderly process whereby we are continually upgrading our ships, building new ships, maintaining our ships properly, and these are some big ships. so it's expensive. it's complicated.
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you have decisions on how to proceed over the long-term for mike and others to plan properly. you're rightly concerned. mike is properly concerned about the impact that these cuts will have on not just this company, but companies in small businesses from all 50 states that supply you with parts and equipment. mike was telling me that you guys already made $1 billion worth of capital investment. you have half a billion dollars in training costs as you recruit and hire new people. those aren't commitments that you make lightly. you have to have the capacity to plan and have some certainty in terms of what it is that we're going to be doing. you know that if congress can't get together and plan our nation's finances for the long-term that over time some of your jobs and businesses could be at risk. over the norfolk naval station,
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the threat of these cuts has already forced the navy to cancel the deployment or delay the repair of certain aircraft carriers. one that's currently being built might not get finished. that hurts this economy and your obama line. because of these automatic cuts about 90,000 virginians who work for the department of defense would be forced to take unpaid leave from their jobs. then that means there's going to be a ripple effect on thousands of other jobs and businesses and southwests throughout the commonwealth because if they don't have money in their pockets or less money in their pockets, that means they're less able to afford to buy goods and services from other businesses, so it's not just restricted to
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the defense industry. all told, the sequester could cost tens of thousands of jobs right here in virginia. it doesn't just stop there. if the sequester goes into effect, more than 2,000 college students would lose their financial aid. for nearly 1,000 children and 18,000 fewer virginians would get the skill and training they need to find a job. across the country these cuts will force federal prosecutors to close cases and potentially let criminals go. air traffic controllers and aircraft security will see cutbacks and that could cause delays at airports across the country. tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. hundreds of thousands of americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccination says and
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cancer screenings, including more than 3,500 children right here in virginia. they're not smart. they're not fair. they're a self-inflicted wound that doesn't have to happen. the reason that we're even thinking about the sequester is because people are readily concerned about the deficit and the debt. but there's a sensible way of doing things, and there's a dumb way of doing things. i mean, think about your own family, right? let's say that suddenly you have a little less money coming in. are you going to say we'll cut out college tuition for the kid, we'll stop feeing the little guy over here, we won't pay our car note even though that means we can't get to work? that's not what you do, right?
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you step back and you say what is it that's important? our child's education, making sure they're healthy, making sure we can get to the job, keeping our house, you know, repaired, and then you say here are the things that aren't so important, and you cut those out. you prioritize. you make smart decision. well, we should be doing the same thing. now, i've laid out a plan that details how we can pay down our deficit in a way that's balanced and responsible. we have a plan right on our website, the white house website. everybody can go see it. it details exactly how we can cut programs, how we can raise money by closing loophole that is are only serving a few as opposed to the average american. we detail $930 billion in sensible spending cuts that
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we're willing to make, and $580 billion in tax loopholes and deduction that is we'reotology eliminate through tax reform. what i've said is if the republicans in congress don't like every detail of my proposal, which i don't expect them to, i have told them my door is open. i'm more than willing to negotiate. i want to compromise. there's no reason why we can't come together and find a sensible way to reduce the deficit over the long-term without affecting vital services without hurting families the fact is there are leaders in both parties throughout this country that want to do the same. i've got to give scott rigell credit. you know, he is one of your
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republican congressmen who is with us here today, and that's not always healthy for a republican. , being with me. he is doing it because he knows it's important to you. he has asked his colleagues in the house to consider closing tax loopholes instead of letting these automatic cuts go through. he is concerned about the deficit, and he is more than prepared to make some really tough cuts, but he mgts to do it in a smart way. he knows that we have to make some tough decision. he just wants to make sure that you aren't the ones adversely impacted and we are sharing the sacrifice in bringing down our deficit. we're not just dumping it on a few people, and we're not doing it in a dumb way. senators like john mccain have made similar statements to what scott said. you're a republican governor along with other governors around the country that have
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said they want congress to stop the sequester, stop these cuts. i just had to be honest with you. there are too many republicans in congress right now who refused to corporate miz even an inch when it comes to closing tax loopholes and special interest tax breaks. that's what's holding things up right now. keep in mind nobody is asking them to raise income tax rates. all we are asking them to consider is closing tax loopholes and deduction that is john boehner said he was willing to do just a few months ago. he said there were a bunch of loopholes and deductions you could close. said could you close $800 billion by closing loopholes. we're not even asking for that much. all we're asking is that they close loopholes for the well off and the well connected. for hedge fund managers. companies or corporate jet
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owners who are all doing very well and don't need these tax loopholes so we can avoid laying off workers or kicking kids off head start or reducing financial aid for college students. i do not think that is partisan. the majority of the american people agree with me. the majority of newport news agree with me. we need to get this done. >> only congress has the power to pass a law that stops these damaging cuts and replaces them with smart savings and tax reform. the second i get that bill on my desk, i will sign it into law, but i have to get congress to pass it. none of us will get 100% of what we want. democrats, they've got to, you know, make some tough choices
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too. democrats like me. we've said we're prepared to make some tough cuts and reforms including to programs like medicare. but if we're willing to compromise, then republicans in the house have to compromise as well. that's what democracy is about. that's what this country needs right now. so let me -- let me just make one last point, by the way, for those of you who are following this. lately some people have been saying, well, maybe we'll just give the president some flexibility. he can make the cuts the way he wants, and that way it won't be as damaging. you know, the problem is when you are cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10% cut in the defense budget in seven months, there's no smart way to do that. there's no smart way to do that. you don't want to have to choose between let's say do i close
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funding for the disabled kid or the poor kid? do i close this navy shep yard or some other one? when you are doing things in a way that is not smart, you know, you can't gloss over the pain and the impact it's going to have on the economy. and the broader point is, virginia, we can't just cut our way to prosperity. we can't just cut our way to prosperity. we can't ask seniors and working families like yours to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful. we aren't going to grow the middle class by shifting the cost of health care or college on families that aren't struggling or forcing communities to lay off more teachers or cops or ship builders and folks who are doing
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really well don't have to do anything more. that's not fair. and it's not good for the economy. and the other thing we've got to do is to stop having these crisis manufactured every month. it seems like -- i know you guys must get tired of it. didn't we just solve this thing? now we got for her thing coming up? think about if mike peters ran his business this way. once every month or two there would be some crisis and you wouldn't be sure whether or not you were working or not. even if it got solved, eventually or ultimately, you know, it would be pretty discouraging on people. you would be less productive. ships wouldn't get built as fast. you would waste money because you don't know exactly what to expect. folks aren't sure. am i showing up to work today or not? if it's not a good way to run a business, it's sure not a good
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way to run a country. now -- [ applause ] >> all of you, the american people, you've worked too hard for too long rebuilding and digging our way out of the financial crisis back in 2007 and 2008 to see congress cause another one. the greatest nation on earth can't keep on conducting its business drifting from one crisis to the next. we have to have a plan. we have to envest in our common compute foout. our true north is a growing economy that creates good middle class jobs. a country that provides its people with the skills they need to get those jobs and make sure that you're getting paid a decent wage to get it done.
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that's what we should be talking about in washington. if you agree with me, i need you to make sure your voices are heard. let your leaders know what you expect of them. let them know what you believe. let them know what this country was built on was a sense of obligation to not just each other, but to future generations. we've got to shoulder those obligations as one nation and as one people. you know, i was in a conversation with some of the governors from across the country yesterday, and i told them -- i said i have run my last election. michelle is very happy about that.
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i'm not interested in spin or playing the blame game. all i'm interested in at this point is solving problems. all i'm interested in is making sure that when you get up early in the morning and get to this shift at 5:30 in the morning that you fn you do a good job and if you work hard and if you are, you know, making sure that all the parts to this incredible ship that you're building is where they need to be, if you are doing what you do, then you can go home feeling satisfied. i did my job. i did my part. i can support my family. i can take pride in what i've done for this country. that's all i want. i want us to be able to look back five years from now, ten years from now and say we took care of our business, and we put
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an end to some of these games that maybe i guess are entertaining to some, but are hurting too many people. but in order for us to make that happen, i'm going need you. after four years you get pretty humble. you think you wouldn't, but you become more humble. you realize what you don't know. you realize all the mistakes you made, but you also realize you can't do things by yourself. that's not how our system works. you have to have the help and the goodwill of congress and what that means is you've got to make sure that constituents of members of congress are putting some pressure on them. i need you, virginia, to keep up the pressure. i need to you keep up the effort. i immediate you to keep up the fight. if you do, congress will listen.
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if you stand up and speak out, congress will listen, and together we will unleash our true potential and will remind the world just why it is the united states builds the greatest ships on earth and is the greatest nation on earth. thank you. god bless you. god bless the united states of america. >> president obama wrapping up a speech in newport news, virginia, saying, again, compromise can be reached on the coming sequester budget cuts. interestingly enough, two of the biggest applause lines were when he said washington has got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis. you can tell there wasn't a very partisan crowd, but they did leap and cheer on that, and the president coming out fwens the idea that had been taking up -- getting some momentum among some senate republicans. the idea that they would give the administration, pass the bill, allowing the sequester cuts to go through, but giving
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the president and administration more flexibility to decide which cuts -- the president pretty much saying he did not believe that was the right way to go. more important news here. nobody is sequestered anymore at dulles airport or in london. andrea mitchell literally just got back from flying in. are your arms tired? traveling with second kerry. she comes in, and you are going to be going back out with secretary kerry, but this is his first big trip. you were there at the start, and let's get right to the news. he met with his russian counterpart, and some potentially big news coming having to do with syria. >> well, first of all, he met with lavrov for quite a long time. we're told they discussed all their issues, which are syria, principalically, and also iran because there are talks today in kazakhstan with the western powers and iran for the first time in six months. >> although nobody expects much out of it until after the iranian elections, but there seems to be more wiggle room. the red line pushed back a
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little farther, according to the very technical details in that u.n. weapons inspectors report last week. >> what kerry hinted at in our meetings in london in our news conference was that there could be a change of policy afoot. that he is not going to leave the syrian opposition -- >> the change of policy from the united states. >> from the u.s. now, there is no agreement with russia. russia is rearming assad, propping up the regime, and that was the contentious part of today's meeting. but what kerry seemed to be hinting at is that under pressure from the brits and certainly from the syrian opposition which initially said that they would not meet in rome with him in a couple of days, he called them and persuaded them saying show up, we've got something for you. this meeting will be worth your while. what he said to us is this is a right moment. it is a new secretary of state. it is a president on a second term. wait and see what happens. now -- >> you were staying that hillary clinton, leon panetta both wanted to arm the syrian rebel
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wrshz. >> arm some of them. >> the president vetoed it. you think he is telegraphing something. >> i think he thinks he is telegraphing something. i think he may think he has more running room than he has. we've seen that the white house really controls foreign policy more than the state department. hillary clinton didn't challenge that. she proposed and then the fact that she was against the policy didn't come out until leon panetta hearing at the end after she had left office. she kept her disagreements very, very private. this question is whether john kerry will have the flexibility and the authority to recommend changes. >> you said russian -- what specifically? >> kerry promised he would bring this up, and baskly they want to lift the ban. vladimir putin has put a ban on adoptions by american families. they do have their complaints. there have been some terrible cases, most recently one in texas, where adopted russian children have been either abused or this last case a child died.
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kerry's argument to lavrov today is there are thousands of orphans. they need loving parents. we have americansotology take them in. yes, we will deal with the problems that have existed, but those are small, tragic but small, compared to the thousands of families that could be united. >> i got to ask you about this. one other international story. it has to do with dennis rodman, the former nba basketball player who is now touring with the harlem globetrotters. he shows up at north korea, and you actually -- this came across the wire while you were on the plane, and you actually knew the state department not only knows about this, but approved it. >> they are not saying that they sent dennis rodman and the globetrotters, but when we asked about this on the plane on sunday heading to london, there were reports this might be afoot. they said stay tuned. this could be basketball diplomacy like ping pong diplomacy. it is known that the young leader, kim jong un loves michael jordan.
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he didn't get michael jordan, but -- >> he is a former chicago bull. >> five-time nba champ. >> sure. >> so i'm not sure whether the nose rings and tattoos and all the other -- >> how is that going to play with kim jong un? >> you see the way -- it's the most regimented society in the word. i think the fact that they love basketball as much as they do, this is going to be an exciting trip. they're shooting an hbo movie. >> the pyongyang generals. we'll see how they do. >> andrea mitchell, a little bit impressed. i think you're going back on the road. we'll see you back here tomorrow. >> thanks for sitting in. >> well, it's always enjoyable. to my honor. up next, we'll head live to rome, one of the final days of pope benedict continue to be overshadowed by scandal and what we're going to call him in his retirement. we had never used a contractor before and didn't know where to start.
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well, will a continuing scandal threaten to overshadow the final days of pope benedict's papacy?
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ann thompson is in rome for us. vati-leaks with the fallout over basically some reports of what happened, some different investigations. a cardinal resigned in the uk. reports of inappropriate activity, cover-ups, priests and prostitutes. messy. fill in the gaps here. >> reporter: yeah, it really is, chuck. what's happened in the final days of benedict's papacy is taken the scandals that marred the papacy and sort of put them in the three-week span. i mean, obviously, the biggest development is the resignation of cardinal keith o'brien, the cardinal from scotland. and he was accused of inappropriate behavior with four young priests going back to the 1980s. that story was published on sunday and on monday the vatican acce accepted, the pope accepted his resignation. i have to tell you that that -- things moving that quickly in
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the vatican, that's absolutely warp speed because they don't do things that quickly. now, totally unheard of. and then you have the vati-leaks scan dl and that is the pope's put ler and stole documents and had them published because he brought them to a reporter because he felt that the pope was ill served by the -- that's the veteran bureaucracy. well, there was a secret report, an internal report that the pope said only he has read and he'll leave it for the next pope but italian newspapers here have been filled with all kinds of speculation about what's in that report, everything from gay priests and blackmail and it's just -- it's really sort of unbelievable. but despite all of that, i can tell you they're preparing for a big crowd tomorrow for his final audience. 50,000 people have requested tickets and they expect many, many more to show up.
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>> i know it's supposed to be a celebration and you hear this and you can't help but did it drive him in to resignation? >> reporter: i think, you know, certainly, it's part of it. i think just the weight of the job. this is a really -- you're a head of the 1.2 billion catholics. he's 85 years old. turns 86 in april. how many people can do that? >> it's got to be tough. he's now going to be known as the pope emeritus and keep his name. >> reporter: correct. >> keeping the name his holiness and benedict. >> right. you'll refer to him his as his holiness and still wear white and only wear a simple kassik. no cape. and those red shoe that is he loves so much, they're gone, too. he's going to replace them with brown loafers. >> something's got to be saved for the guy to replace him as pope. anyway, anne thompson in rome,
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going to be the start of a busy, busy few weeks for you. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." she is back and will be back tomorrow. her guests include senator roger wicker, debber wasserman schultz and robert gibbs and i'll see you back here at 9:00 in the morning. "news nation" with tamron hall starts in minutes. i've got something for you too. (announcer) fancy feast delights with cheddar. a meal that is sure to delight your cheese lover. fancy feast. the best ingredient is love.
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